(ICC) The International Cricket Council Chief Executive, David Richardson attended the official opening of the new world-leading Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre yesterday in Dublin, with the International Cricket Council making significant investment into the future of Irish cricket.
The €700,000 training centre which is at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus is phase one of the project that includes five artificial and 16 grass practice wickets, a 3000m square grass covered fielding practice area and world-leading bowling machine technology.
The ICC has worked in partnership since 2013 with Cricket Ireland supporting the project with $450,000 of investment through the ICC Development Programme Facilities Fund. A fund which has provided Associate Members support to develop top class facilities. This is the final project in the programme which had supported the Emirates Cricket Board, Cricket Finland and Cricket PNG with ICC investment to develop facilities.
David Richardson attended the opening event in Dublin alongside Cricket Ireland Chairman, Ross McCollum; Brendan Griffin, TD Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; Kieran Mulvey, Chair of Sport Ireland and Cllr Anthony Lavin, The Mayor of Fingal.
ICC Chief Executive, David Richardson said: “The development of the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre is another important milestone in Ireland’s impressive journey as a Member. It will provide significant support for the further progression of the sport and the development of young talent.
“Creating a sustainable impact is one of our commitments to helping the game grow and the funding the ICC has provided for this project will afford the next generation of players a world class facility to cultivate their skills and progress as cricketers.”
Cricket Ireland Chairman, Ross McCollum, spoke at the opening said: “We’re delighted to be opening Phase One of a truly world-class training facility – an asset that will benefit this and future generations of cricketers across Ireland.
“The design of this facility has been developed through significant research of the world’s best cricket training facilities by our coaches and performance staff. Not only does this make the High Performance Centre leading-edge, but its co-location with the Sport Ireland Institute’s high performance gyms and testing facilities makes this the envy of cricketing nations around the world.
“The new centre will provide Ireland-based players with high quality training and preparation, and will service the growing demand of multiple international and provincial teams, male and female, senior and junior – not to mention our national academy – all of whom are currently using club facilities which are already over-stretched accommodating our playing schedule, let alone training needs.”
Mr McCollum recognised the various funding and support partners that generously supported the development of this project to date.
“Firstly, we would like to thank the Irish Government and Sport Ireland for their ongoing support for cricket. Through both financial support and provision of a lease for the land here at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, we now have a dedicated home from which we can push our sport forward to new heights.
“Secondly, we would like to thank our major funding partners, the International Cricket Council and Mr Denis O’Brien. Your financial contributions towards this project have ensured we have been able to bring our vision to fruition, and have placed Ireland amongst the best in world cricket.
“Projects like this need both vision and a determination to make them happen, and we must recognise the dedicated work of Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, for creating the vision and overseeing the delivery of Phase One. Without that Richard’s ambition to create this world-class facility, we would not be here today.”
Phase Two, which is hoped to be completed by 2020, will feature a dedicated building incorporating changing facilities, coaches zone, meeting spaces, performance analysis area, and a player zone; an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) clear roof canopy over the turf wickets – which will be a world-first in cricket – which will allow players to practice on grass including their run-ups throughout wet weather as well as controlling climate, pitch moisture and ground conditions.